The Marine Institute was delighted to welcome nearly 400 visitors to its research facility in Furnace, Newport, Co. Mayo last week.
On Saturday, 15th April, the Marine Institute opened its doors to all to give visitors the opportunity to view the facility located in the Burrishoole Valley. The research facility forms one of the greatest natural laboratories for studying migratory fish in Europe. Visitors had the opportunity to tour the state of the art facilities on offer and to meet with researchers and scientists and hear about some of the exciting research projects taking place at the site. The Institute organised a series of interactive exhibitions which were designed to introduce visitors to some of the innovative work of the Marine Institute in areas including seabed mapping, research vessel operations and oceanography, as well as fisheries and the marine environment. A number of PhD candidates were also available to talk to students about their subject choices and potential careers in the marine sector.
Visitors were able to look through microscopes to see freshwater invertebrates, view fish species up-close in the aquarium displays and learn how to read a salmon scale. There were also able to visit the manual climate station and see the instruments used to collect daily data for Met Éireann.
The Marine Institute's facility in Newport is a unique research centre, where a range of cutting edge research is undertaken including genetics work across several species of salmon, sea bass, pollock and bluefin tuna, as well as research on catchment ecosystems events, climate change, oceanography and aquaculture. The facility, which has been in operation since 1955, includes laboratories, a freshwater hatchery, fish rearing facilities, fish census trapping stations, a salmonid angling fishery and a monitored freshwater lake and river catchment.
In addition to the public open day, the Marine Institute welcomed over 130 primary school pupils and their teachers earlier in the week for special tours. Speaking on their visit St. Brendan's NS, Myna said: "We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to the Marine Institute. It was fantastic! The children gained so much from it. The layout of stations suited the age level and kept them engaged and intrigued the whole time. In addition, the content was suitable for this class level as they were able to comprehend and take advantage of having such expertise staff in front of them. They made sure to ask lots of questions and they were all answered for them. The children enjoyed the hands on aspects as well as the more theoretical content. As a teacher, I was able to too get involved and could observe the enjoyment on the children's faces as they ventured through the organised stations. The staff are very friendly.
The Marine Institute is responsible for promoting the sustainable development of Ireland's vast marine resource through coordinated and focussed research, the application of new technologies and by providing credible science based advice to industry, the Government and the EU. As part of its remit, the Institute strives to engage broader audiences to enhance Ireland's knowledge of our vast marine resource and the benefits and opportunities it affords us. According to Dr. Heffernan "The work we do reflects the importance of the Government Strategy in Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth. We aim to build on Ireland's marine and maritime heritage by increasing awareness of the value, opportunities and social benefits of our ocean wealth and identity. We do this through educational and engagement programmes including our Explorers Programme in national schools across the country, our TY Internships Programme, our Open Days, and Seafest, Ireland's national maritime festival. "
Seafest returns to Galway on Friday 29th of June through to Sunday 1st of July, 2018.